Jan 30, 2019
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Navlakha antique theft: Four held

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RAJKOT: Four persons were arrested on Saturday for their alleged involvement in at
Gondal’s Navlakha Palace museum on December 9. One of the accused in the case is still at large,
the police said. The accused who had stolen 29kg silver ornaments and other antiques of the royal
family worth over Rs 10 lakh had melted the silver ornaments into bricks.
Police said accused Jitu Dhrangadharia (34), Anil Tajparia (32), Sanjay Panchala (26) and Narendra
Parmar (33) are part of a gang that target old palaces and antiques. Mastermind Jitu is a resident of
Dhrangadhra in Surendranagar. Anil is also from Dhrangadhra, while Sanjay is from Bavla in
Ahmedabad and Narendra is resident of Kamrej in Surat, the police added. All the accused are
related, said the police adding that Sanjay and Narendra are brother-in-laws. Fifth accused Dinesh
Solanki, a resident of Veraval in Gir Somnath, is still absconding. He was assigned the task to find a
suitable buyer for the loot.
Police have recovered 29kg silver in the form of bricks and other antiques from the accused. The
accused had got the silver ornaments melted into bricks at Mankechowk in Ahmedabad. They were
in search of a buyer when they got arrested. Rajkot rural police said the accused had earlier
attempted robbery at Santrampur Palace, but failed.
Rajkot rural superintendent of police Balram Meena said, “The accused knew that the silver
ornaments were antique and can not be sold in open market as it had stamp of Gondal state on it.
So, they got it melted in Ahmedabad.”
The trader in Ahmedabad knew that the ornaments were antique. “He had offered the accused Rs 7
lakh for the booty, which they had declined. The accused had decided to hand over the silver bricks
to Dinesh, who would sell it to suitable buyers,” Meena said.

The accused were arrested when they were going to Veraval to handover the silver and other
antiques to Dinesh. They were intercepted by the police near Gomta Chowkdi on Gondal National
Highway based on technical surveillance and specific information.
Meena added, “These people did recce many times before executing the burglary. On December 9
night, the accused reached the back side of the palace museum in a van. The van has also been
The accused were caught on closed circuit television camera of the palace and based on that cops
checked old footages and identified the accused when they had come for recce.
According to the police, there are gangs in Dhrangadhra known to target old palaces. A gang of the
same town is also believed to be involved in a robbery at Morbi palace recently and in Jamnagar
palace in the past.

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